ArtFul Living: St. Louis Area Fine Arts, Crafts & Performing Arts

Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky, Arts Editor

Summer in St. Louis is all about performances, and you’re gonna love this summer’s ARTful entertainment!

Just before the beloved Muny Season begins, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis reigns in Forest Park. This year’s production of The Winter’s Tale opens at 8 p.m., on Fri., June 2, at Shakespeare Glen, just across from the Art Museum. Highlights to this year’s production include original music composed by St. Louis-based The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra, a diverse cast under the direction of four-time Festival director Bruce Longworth, and the unveiling of Schlafly’s custom-labeled draft beer, The Winter’s Ale. Performances run nightly, except Tuesdays, and begin at 8 p.m., through Sun., June 25. Thursday performances will be signed for the deaf and hard of hearing, plus the June 15th performance will be audio described by Mind’s Eye Radio for the visually impaired. Thank you, SFSL, for your thoughtful inclusivity!

The Green Show begins nightly at 6:30 with local musicians plus The Bard’s Buzz (a synopsis of the play) and fun, roving performers. Free backstage tours also begin at 6:30 in front of the main stage. On Fridays, the Festival’s advanced teen ensemble, the Shakespeare Squadron, performs a 20-minute version of The Winter’s Tale. Open lawn seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis (bring your own chair/blanket), or opt for premium online-reserved seating, priced at $10 and $20. Pack your own picnic basket or purchase assorted goodies onsite; epicurean box dinners can be ordered in advance. Best of all, Schlafly’s festival-exclusive The Winter’s Ale is available for purchase, too.

So, enough about food, what’s this play about? The Winter’s Tale is a story of sin and redemption, love and forgiveness, set in the kingdoms of Bohemia and Sicilia. It’s part tragedy, part comedy, part romance, and totally delightful! Find out more at www.sfstl.com. See you in the Glen!

Before heading to a Cards game, be sure to check out the short films being shown in Citygarden, featuring the winning filmmakers from Cinema St. Louis’ 5th Cinema at Citygarden juried competition. David Rocco, Natalie Rainer, and Yihuang Lu received awards, provided by Gateway Foundation, for their films. Works by 7 other filmmakers complete the free video-wall projections, 5-10 p.m. nightly.

Opened July 1, 2009, Citygarden is 2.9 acres of sculpture, plantings, and beauty, an oasis in the center of downtown St. Louis, between 8th and 10th and Market and Chestnut Streets. Details at www.citygardentstl.org and www.cinemastlouis.org.

Gitana Productions presents its original performance-art theatre production “Between Worlds: An American Journey,” June 8-11 at The Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square.

“Between Worlds” features St. Louis Poet Laureate (and my dear friend!) Michael Castro along with local actors, dancers and rap artists, to highlight multicultural influences in American music, acting and dance. “This is performance art at its best,” said Gitana Productions Executive Director Cecilia Nadal. “Our performers and themes represent a diverse cross-section of America, how our cultures intersect across the past, present and future. We invite the audience to consider what we, as Americans, want to become.”

It’s compelling as a modern day African American rap artist converses with the 5th-century founder of democracy Pericles about the ideal vs. the reality of democracy. In another scene, an Irish indentured servant and a freed slave share their historic dance forms, leading to the cross-cultural innovation of “tap dancing.” Later, an African American teacher and a Muslim woman compare racism and prejudice, changing their own preconceptions about each other. Directed and choreographed by 2017 St. Louis Visionary Award winner Vivian Anderson Watt, with original music composed in collaboration by international violinist and musical director Aska Kaneko, St. Louis trumpeter Dawn Weber, pianist Phillip Graves, and electronic instrumentalist Christian Oncken. Ticket info can be found at 314-534-1111 or visit metrotix.com.

Perhaps you prefer movies on a summer evening? Throughout the month, Webster University presents a film series, Tribute to Jonathan Demme, in the Winifred Moore Auditorium on campus at 470 E. Lockwood. This American director, producer and screenwriter, who passed away on April 26, is known for such powerful films as Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, and The Manchurian Candidate. There will also be “5 Days of Teleplays: The Twilight Zone.” Great stuff!! Check out details and a full film listing at www.webster.edu/film-series.